NASA at Hartnell College

Date:Oct 05, 2012

Peacock Acres was fortunate enough to work with the STEM program at Hartnell last summer during the TLC Summer Camp. For two weeks, students explored the mysteries of space, and developed their skills in science and math, all while participating in experiments and activities that challanged their minds at every turn. One of the highlights of the 2 weeks was when students created “spacesuits” for their astronaut eggs. After wrapping the eggs in foil for solar radiation protection, bubbble wrap to combat unwanted space debris, foam insulation for warmth, the eggs were dropped from different heights to see how they did under the pressures of space. Everyone worked together in a team, and in the end, learned so much about space and engineering!


Established in 2011, the Hartnell College Science Engineering Mathematics and Aerospace Academy is located at Hartnell College, a federally designated Hispanic-Serving Institution in Salinas, CA. The academy is an innovative national project designed to increase the participation and retention of historically underserved and underrepresented youth in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM. The goals of the program are to do the following:

  • Inspire a more diverse student population to pursue careers in STEM-related fields.
  • Engage students, parents and adult family members, and teachers by incorporating emerging technologies.
  • Educate students using rigorous STEM curricula, designed and implemented by NASA.

The key components of the SEMAA program are:

  • Hands-On, Inquiry-Based K-12 STEM Curricula
      — Aligned to national mathematics, science, and technology standards.
      — Encompasses the research and technology of NASA’s four mission directorates.
      — Provides NASA SEMAA graduates with up to 441 hours of advanced studies in STEM, prior to enrollment in a post-secondary institution.

SEMAA is offered as a safe, free, after-school science, engineering and mathematics enrichment project at local schools within the participating school districts. Through this project, students in surrounding school districts will be able to increase their math and science literacy significantly through hands-on, inquiry-based learning activities that are aligned to national science, mathematics and technology standards.

The Aerospace Education Laboratory at the Alisal campus provides students with real-life aerospace challenges involving science, engineering and mathematics. In addition to middle and high school students, the AEL is available at no cost to local engineering students, pre-service teachers, faculty, students, teachers, parents and caregivers, and other community members.